Bad-ass of the year? “The World’s Most Interesting Man” probably wins that distinction. Bad-ass of all time? James Bond would certainly be a leading contender. And the recent explosive trailer for the latest installment of the legendary 007 thrill ride, “Skyfall,” reminds us why.



Bond parries bullets and explosions; he fixes his cuffs promptly after each confrontation; Javier Bardem, sporting Aryan-like hair and a creepy smile, is sinister; the Bond girls are as seductive as they are dangerous — none of the franchise’s fundamentals are lost.

Never before has Bond been more complex as he is now in Daniel Craig’s commanding performance. Couple that with Sam Mendes’ direction, and Bond, a character never recognized as being tragic until “Casino Royale,” has more potential than ever to show his capacity for redemption and wisdom. Picking Mendes, an artsy filmmaker, as director was a gamble. From what the trailer shows, Mendes, while understanding the heart of the franchise, has expanded upon the artistic boundaries set by his predecessors. An old sheriff with new tricks is back in town.

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